According to recent statistics, couples who live together before marriage, experience a 50 percent greater divorce rate than couples who didn't. Most unmarried couples who live together break up within five years and the divorce rate for those who ultimately marry is 67 percent compared to a 45 percent divorce rate for couples who didn't live together before marriage. This news is shocking to many couples who live together because they believe that living together will actually increase their chances of living happily ever after. Many couples believe that living together before marriage is a trial run of how marriage would be and do it to find out how compatible they are being together 24/7. That's seems to make a lot of sense - so why is the reality so different?
Actually, the answer is pretty simple according to therapists, researchers and family counselors. Most couples living together before marriage continue to segregate most parts of their lives such as finances, business matters and extended-family problems. They simply think that moving in together is a continuation of their prior relationship while sharing the same home. Frequently, one or both partners view living together as something of an audition for marriage and do their best to avoid any behavior or conversations that might "upset the applecart." Unfortunately, this way of relating (or not relating) is carried into marriage where partners quickly realize that their unexpressed expectations and lack of communication automatically changes the nature of their relationship, leading to resentment for both spouses.
The solution to this problem should be obvious, but living together and being "out there" in an extended dating mode muddles the relationship waters considerably. If couples have not communicated about complex or even simple life attitudes such as children, finances and religion, those things don't change after marriage. You can see where this is going. What they don't understand or choose to ignore, is that discovering these differences before a problem arises is more likely to keep problems from happening in the first place. Just because two people choose to spend their lives together doesn't mean that they aren't going to have different opinions, needs or ways of doing things. Learning about these differences means that you can agree to disagree on non-essential matters and find effective ways to negotiate about more important issues.
It is essential to learn and use communication skills in every relationship to avoid land mines that will ultimately result when you do not talk things out when you disagree. When you hear the words "we need to talk" it's not time to freeze, it's time to listen. Living together is no panacea to create a successful marriage - only communication can do that.